Residents in the City of Boston were looking for an effective way to reduce the speed of vehicles – and thus reduce the number and severity of crashes – on residential streets. Past traffic calming efforts were reactive and available only to neighborhoods who knew how to request them. This led to inconsistent measures that simply rerouted traffic to streets that had not been “calmed.”


The Boston Transportation Department enacted the Neighborhood Slow Streets Program, which aims to improve safety and quality of life in neighborhoods through traffic calming. Residents citywide have the opportunity to apply for the Slow Streets Program, and neighborhoods are selected through an objective evaluation process. Instead of planning and implementing traffic calming one street at a time, BTD looks at neighborhoods holistically to develop solutions that solve the issue, not just divert traffic. Kittelson is working with the City to assess every street within each neighborhood zone to identify problems and design solutions. We work closely with each community to understand their concerns and the opportunities available to create safer streets.

The Outcome

Taking a Holistic Approach to Safer Streets in Boston

Following the planning for each zone, neighborhood streets will have visual and physical cues to slow drivers to 20mph. Projects in neighborhoods include speed humps, signs, curb extensions, crosswalks, and parking changes to improve visibility. This will make each street feel more inviting for people of all ages who are walking, playing, and bicycling there.




Boston Transportation Department


Boston, MA